***Okay guys, this is what I wished had happened when she asked him to grab a bite. There is so much history between these two, I just can't believe the writers wont address any of it. Cuddy, is a stranger this season, and I want to bring her back. I was planning on this being maybe a 3-4 chapter story. Let me know what you think.************

NOT FRIENDS

She opened the door and walked into his office. Really she had just expected to drop some files off, it was late, she had never expected to find him sitting at his desk.

"Oh," she exclaimed softly, "I didn't expect to find you here," she took the stack I her hands and approached his desk, "I just stopped by to drop these off, they need your signature."

He leaned back in his chair and rubbed a hand over his eyes, reaching for the file on top. "Working late?" he asked.

"I just needed to finish up some things," Cuddy answered, smoothing her skirt with one hand. "You?"

House shrugged and leaned back in his chair, reaching for his coffee. His eyes never left her.

"Well," she started, "It's late, so….." she turned and started heading for the door, before turning again to face him, "Do you want to grab a bite ?" she asked tentatively.

House looked up, and tried to mask his surprise, "Where's Mucus?" he asked, "I'm sure he wouldn't approve.

"Lucas," Cuddy corrected, "is out of town. And, I'm free to dine with a colleague whenever I please."

"Yes," House smirked, "as long as that colleague isn't me."

"House, I…." she started, then thought better. "It was just dinner; I thought it would be better than eating…"

"Fine," House announced, cutting her off, "I'll go."

"Great," Cuddy smiled softly, "I'll just go grab my things."

They met in the lobby moments later. He looked handsome and sad, in his overcoat, the collar turned up against the cold. "Let's ride together," she suggested, not knowing how he had gotten here. During the cold winter months he had taken to riding in with Wilson, but she doubted that he was still here, to drive him home. "I can drop you back after dinner, or drive you home."

"Sure," House shrugged, he didn't exactly have a plan on getting home. Wilson had left earlier to have dinner with Sam, and House had been left to his own devices.

They walked to the car silently, and House got in besides her. He tried to avoid the feelings of discomfort from knowing that he was sitting in Lucas' usual spot. He smirked a little, and shook his head softly; Lucas had swooped and gotten his girl, while he sat in a loony bin. That's what you get for playing around for five years, he thought grimly. Fuck, did he really do that? Five years? What an idiot!

Cuddy turned to face him, she knew he had been feeling down lately, this whole thing with Wilson and Sam had been upsetting him. House wanted Wilson to himself. "Where do you want to go?" She asked lightly.

He turned to face her, his eyes going from her eyes to her lips, the back up to her eyes. "You pick." He said, "Dealer's choice."

She wanted to get out of the car quickly, this ride was uncomfortable as hell, "There's a new Brewery that just opened up, I've been wanting to try it out." She said with a smile.

"You don't drink beer," was his answer. "For a minute you had me fooled," he continued sharply, "I thought maybe Wilson hadn't gotten to you." Jesus, he thought, this was humiliating as hell.

"Wilson?" she turned to face him, "House, I don't know what you are talking about." She continued driving, looking at him when she could, "You like beer, and I like organic food, I thought it might be a good match." She shook her head, "beside's, I've never been there and…."

"And what?" He answered looking at her, his eye's narrowing instinctively as he searched for her possible answer.

"And I knew you wouldn't be able to speculate endlessly about me and Lucas, and how often we eat there, what we order, where we sit…." She sighed and gesticulated in an exasperated way.

"Don't flatter yourself." He mumbled, looking down. Damn, she knew him so well, too well. "Fine." He said. "I like beer."

They found a spot in front and walked in, he looked down as he held the door for her. The place was cool, a nice mix of young and hip, along with an older University professor kind of crowd. It was quiet, a Wednesday night, they were seated immediately.

"This place is nice," Cuddy remarked looking around at the wood paneled walls and large brass brewing canisters displayed around the place.

"Didn't think it was your style." He said a bit tersely, her earlier jibe, still left him unsettled.

"Do you want to go ?" She asked looking up. There was no way she could make it through a dinner like this.

House rubbed a hand across his forehead, "I'm just hungry," he offered as an apology, "and tired."

"We'll order," she said, putting down the menu. "I'm set."

He smiled at her, and leaned back, waiting for the waiter. He needed to relax. Snapping at her every statement was not going to make tonight any less awkward.

By the time their food came House was on his second beer, and he seemed to have settled a bit. He laughed even, as he picked at his french-fries, recounting last week's outings with his team.

"Thirteen got about a dozen Martini's sent to her," he shook his head, "and a stack of phone numbers. And I mean these women were hot!"

Cuddy laughed with him, it was nice to be able to talk like this again, the past few months had been incredibly tense between them. "So," she ventured, "I didn't realize she was….gay? I mean I thought that when she dated Foreman she had basically made a choice."

"Yeah," House snarked, "she did, she chose to turn to women." He stopped for a moment and looked at his burger, "man that's gotta hurt, knowing you put your woman off men." He shook his head lightly and took a bite.

Cuddy laughed, "An ego crusher huh?" she teased, playing with her salad, "ever happen to you?"

"Ha!" House laughed, "I'm just the opposite. I can turn a woman the other way."

"Ohh please!" she laughed, "You are a true ego-maniac!"

"It's true," he continued between bites, "remember that girl in your dorm…..Charlene?"

Cuddy dropped her fork, her mouth wide open, "You did not sleep with Charlene?" she asked, remembering the slightly butch girl with the short hair and glasses who preached about gay rights constantly.

"God no," he guffawed, "her girlfriend. She was so cute. She turned to guys after me."

"Oh stop," Cuddy laughed, "she did not!"

"One night with me was all it took." He continued, "Any girl was hooked." He clammed up, damn it. It had slipped out before he had a chance to stop himself. "Well," he added looking into his plate for a moment before he looked up again. "Almost any girl."

Cuddy blushed for a moment, as she looked down and ate a forkful of her salad. She had been enjoying this evening too much to let that one comment destroy it. "Who said anything about almost." She answered, as she reached for her wine.

They were silent for a moment, each contemplating the next step. The last time they had spoken about Michigan had been his attempt at her. She had walked off the dance floor, and the next morning he had been crushed by the presence of Lucas. He didn't want to go anywhere near that. Nolan agreed, he wasn't strong enough yet to face that hurt.

"Anyhow," House was finally first to break the silence, "Thirteen was the hit of the party that night."

"I'm sure she was," Cuddy nodded in agreement, "she is absolutely beautiful." She paused for a moment and widened her eyes, "I just don't get you two out together, a lesbian bar means it wasn't a date…..unless you were looking for…..oh no" she held up her hand to stop him. "Really," she smiled, "I don't need to know."

"I wish" House chortled, "It was Wilson?" he paused and raised an eyebrow, "You know….Wilson?"

"Yes," she widened her eyes and nodded, "I do know Wilson, but what does he have to do with you and Thirteen? Is he trying to….set you up?"

House leaned back thoughtfully and took a long sip of his beer, his eyes never leaving hers. "I guess you're not in on it." He said slowly, "Wilson's been paying my team off to spend time with me."

"He what?" she asked, she was incredulous.

"He's been….he thinks I'm depressed, he wants time with Sam, "he stopped for a moment and shrugged, "he's been setting up….play dates."

Cuddy shook her head. "House that is absolutely…..how could Wilson do such a thing?" she asked, "and how could you think that I was in on it?"

House leaned back. "Jesus Cuddy," he answered flatly, "how could I not?"

"I don't need to be paid to spend time with you!" She said angrily, "and neither should those idiots who work for you! What is wrong with them?" She shook her head again in disbelief, what a horrible and insensitive move Wilson had pulled.

"Oh calm down," House said shrugging, "I'm not exactly the kind of person you want to spend an evening with. I know that and so does Wilson, so what's the harm?"

"I had a fine evening with you." She countered dabbing at her lips with her napkin, before pushing her plate slightly towards the center of the table. "And I didn't need to be paid off, to be your friend."

"Is that what you are now?" he asked cautiously, "my friend?"

"Yes, yes of course I'm your friend, Greg what's gotten into you?" she asked, her soft grey eyes searching his in much the same manner that they had months before, when he had admitted to his hallucinations.

House looked at her and raised his hand in the air to get the waiter's attention. "Check please!" he said, avoiding her hurt look.

The walk back to the car was silent. The awkwardness and anxiety seeping in around them and erasing the ease and comfort of the evening they had just shared.

Cuddy placed the key in the ignition and asked without turning to face him, "The hospital or the loft?"

"I guess the loft," he answered quietly, "since you know about it."

"Of course I know about it," she answered in a hurt tone, "Lucas told me, and besides, Wilson, left the address right under the PO Box on his change of address form."

House laughed, "What a wimp that was probably his way of letting you know. Vindication without verbalization."

Cuddy inhaled silently, "Vindication for what?" she asked, knowing full well what she had done. "I have a right to date without running it by him." She put on her blinker and turned towards the North side of town. "What is wrong with him?" she said, "maybe he's been spending too much time with you." She had intended it as a joke, but in the current mood, she realized too late it would not be taken that way.

"Ouch!" House answered quietly; his eyes on the road, his hand slowly rubbing his thigh.

Cuddy turned to look at him, "I'm sorry, House that was bitchy and uncalled for." She really didn't know why she had said that. It had been obvious to everyone that House had been trying his hardest since he had come out of Mayfield.

House nodded slightly in a show of acceptance and kept his eyes glued to the road and his lips pressed together.

She turned and glanced at him again, cursing herself, that snide comment had hit home with him. "Is your leg bothering you?" she asked, eager for a diversion.

House was silent for a moment. "You don't really need me to answer that do you?"

"How bad?" she asked quietly, pulling up in front of his building.

"Bad enough to want vicodin, not bad enough to take any." He answered under his breath.

"I'm sorry," she said earnestly, turning to face him as she put the car in park. "I really enjoyed myself tonight." She paused for a moment, and then added "free of charge!" Hoping to lighten the mood.

He let out a soft, small, laugh, and reached for the door.

"Greg," she reached out and placed a hand on his forearm, stopping him. "Wait, I….I had a really nice night with you. I want to do it again; I want us to be friends." She said the last bit quickly, her hand holding onto his arm, her eyes trying to hold onto his soul.

"Cuddy," he said, slowly pulling his arm out of her grip. "Tonight was nice. But," he opened the door, that's the last thing I want us to be."

"House!" She exclaimed softly grabbing onto his arm again, "why?"

He turned around to face her in the dark car, parked in front of his loft. Knowing full well that he would have to go upstairs and face two lovers, his mere presence an invasion to them. He knew he would lie in a dark room alone, listening to soft sounds of laughter, mentally recounting every minute of this evening with her.

And every lunch, every dinner every minute of time he spent with her would only remind him of the five years he threw away, and of the countless of years alone that he had facing him.

He reached forward and cupped her cheek with his hand. The same loving motion she had done for him months ago. On the night where he should have said "I love you, wait for me, I'm sorry" anything, anything to let her know how he had felt; anything to let her know what she meant to him.

So now he cupped her cheek, and his thumb rubbed slightly against her silky skin. He looked into her eyes, which were beautifull, wide and grey and red rimmed and quickly filling with tears. "This is killing me Lisa." He said softly, "I have to let go."

Then without ever taking his eyes off hers he leaned in quickly, and ever so lightly pressed his lips against hers before pulling back and stepping out of the car.

"Goodnight." He said ducking his head slightly towards the car door, before closing it. Slowly he turned and headed up the steps, leaving her wide mouthed and stunned in the front seat.

***Okay, what do you guys think ? I know I have a couple of stories in the works, but without reviews, its honestly pointless. PLEASE REVIEW. !*************